Subject: NUJP statement on Julie Alipala and Jarius Bondoc
(Statement September 22, 2007)
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines is alarmed over reports that no less than the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has prevented a reporter from covering legitimate news events in Mindanao, particularly in the province of Basilan.
The banning of Julie Alipala, a reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, from covering ongoing military operations in Basilan is a violation of press freedom and the people's right to know as enshrined in the Philippine Constitution.
She has also repeatedly received threats because of her reports on military operations in Basilan and Sulu that exposed lapses and abuses on the part of the AFP.
The NUJP looks at the military's action against a legitimate media practitioner as pure harassment and an indication of the military's penchant for human rights violations.
The NUJP is also deeply concerned for her safety. What makes this even more alarming are reports that another journalist has received death threats for exposing corruption in the government.
Philippine Star's Jarius Bondoc sought assistance after receiving death threats allegedly due to his exposï¿½ on the controversial $330-million contract for the government's national broadband network project with China's ZTE Corp.
Bondoc has been receiving text (SMS) messages warning him that he could be shot or his office bombed anytime for his exposes.
The NUJP calls on the authorities to look into these incidents even as we urge the military to stop harassing media practitioners, especially in the provinces.
References:Joe Torres Jr., NUJP chairpersonRowena Paraan, NUJP secretary-general.